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Join the largest student persistence study ever conducted.

Follow the journeys of 200,000+ students. Experience college and its challenges through their eyes

We are thrilled to launch the largest national student persistence study to measure and track student behaviors, challenges and perceptions at scale. This year-long study will allow participants to see college through the eyes of students as they navigate the 2022-2023 academic year.

Why the study, why now

With almost 6,000 students dropping out of college daily, we don’t have to tell you that there is a crisis when it comes to college completion. In a period of declining enrollment, completion matters more than ever. For years Higher Ed tried to solve this crisis by leaving the main stakeholders (students) out of the meeting room. Most retention initiatives rely on data that is about the student (grades, staff flags and demographic information) but rarely from the student.

Research points to one direction: understanding student perceptions and experiences is the first, most critical step to increasing persistence. That is why we are launching the largest student persistence research study of its kind and engaging hundreds of thousands of students as they navigate college. 

- Dr. Vincent Tinto

Award-Winning Persistence Scholar​



We need student input to help frame policies and practices. Their voices and experiences matter. Students should not be seen as just part of the problem, but as part of the solution.

The study

Institutions who partner with EdSights prior to August each year have the option to join the largest scale persistence study in history. The goal is to uncover new trends and insights around the factors driving completion across the nation, and provide participants with real-time insights on their specific students. 

On top of providing participants with key insights for their campus and national benchmarks, students enrolled at participating institutions will benefit from our AI persistence framework that connects them to personalized resources over SMS.

With the study’s findings, we will release a new annual report to serve as the nation’s first benchmark for student persistence and retention. The report will be released next fall at our inaugural client summit.  

For institutions who are in the early stages of their persistence strategic planning, or for those who are looking to enhance their current efforts, we hope the study will provide a data driven foundation that is fueled by the voices and experiences of their students.

What to expect if your institution participates

The study will leverage EdSights' retention framework, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and retention research to conduct weekly outreach with students, uncover their challenges and connect them to personalized resources.


Therefore, the benefits of the study are two folded. Institutional staff will benefit from student-specific and aggregate insights, while students will benefit from continuous support and personalized resources. 


Value for campus leaders

  • Weekly Student Insights: weekly insights generated by the framework on which persistence interventions the AI has completed, as well as data on actionable student struggles to help staff save time and prioritize outreach.

  • Institutional and Benchmark Insights: you will receive two data sets;

    1. Study-wide Benchmark Insights: a white paper including insights and take-aways produced from an analysis of data collected across all participating institutions (all student and institution names will be anonymized). 

    2. Campus-wide Insights: a campus-specific data set that matches the benchmark white paper so participants can see how the voices of their students compare to that of hundreds of thousands across the nation.

  • Access to EdSights' higher education community: connect with other members of the study to exchange ideas and successful practices through round tables, workshops and more.

Value for students

  • Research-based persistence interventions: ongoing proactive SMS outreach that uses our framework to understand challenges and connect students to resources. Students will benefit from the only technology that uses adaptive support to learns about each student’s needs over time, prioritizing resources and interventions accordingly.

  • Enhanced belonging and connection: through engagement and belonging campaigns, students will further feel connected to your institution. The proactive check-ins and continuous support will serve as a reminder that your institution cares about their wellbeing and success, and is making a proactive effort to support them.  

Data collection & methodology

Data collection will be facilitated through a framework that combines AI powered texting with retention research to check in with students and support them in areas that are proven to impact completion. The same framework will be applied across all institutions, allowing us to capture the perspective of hundreds of thousands of students in a scalable way.

Through evidence-based conversations, the framework will periodically ask students questions around 4 key areas: engagement, financial distress, academic perceptions and wellness. Over time, the framework will learn about each student's needs and dynamically prioritize different resources and interventions with each student.

The Framework

Measures areas such as Support System and Campus Engagament

Academic Perceptions
Measures areas such as Self Efficacy, Perceived Relevance Of Curriculum

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Financial Distress
Measures areas such as Balancing Work & School, Food Insecurity

Measures areas such as Lifestyle, Emotional Wellbeing

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